Why I became a social entrepreneur!
When there is a cause that is close to your heart, you will succeed. My story is about real people, like you and me, who decided to take their life into their hands and make their dreams come true, for the greater
good! The story is about real successful social entrepreneur, who built his success from scratch, thanks to his passion, his authenticity, and his vision!
I am a serial entrepreneur, being able to create two multimillion businesses in UK, and successful
social business venture in Bulgaria. But for me, business was the instrument for change, to not only rise voice, but to make change, starting from the bottom. To be entrepreneur you have to be able to pursuit opportunity beyond the resources you currently control. We are another kind of people, who are able not only to generate ideas but to perform experiments and validated their vision. You cannot create profile or learn it in school. We possess other qualities, curiosity, we love innovation, and we can see in the future, we are highly adaptive, determinant to see in practice our believes, we take decisions and firmly stay on them, we love to take risks, because we are gamblers. My life was many times was ruined, and built again, I do not care if I lose, but that does not mean I am easy give up, my strong character does not mean that I could not work with people and be true leader.
For me all I am doing is definitely not profession, I do not rely on salary, and do not work from Monday to Friday to 5pm, I am working 24/7, this is my life, and this is my passion. It is not about the money, the business is the instrument that gives me freedom, to do more I love, more about I care and get joy.
Being a social entrepreneur is to be hybrid, best from both worlds, business and social work. Becoming social entrepreneur for me was a real story of real people who “made it happen”. Social entrepreneurs are always stepping into the unknown—being innovative and creative, and taking risks, the same as being
Yes, sometimes, being a social entrepreneur is lonely—not everyone understands the purpose or value of the work you do. It is not so crowdy and glamour as being businessman. Why it can make a big difference being around people who understand and believe in what you are doing. The more stories you hear, the more you learn and grow as a person, the better able you are to see how your work connects to create change and impact.
Victims of Violence
For me, the most important mission always was the social inclusion of the kids, who are indirect victims of domestic violence. To be able one day to rise voice, from their name, to be able to give what I do not
have. They are the invisible people into the story, because the focus always is on the direct victim- the woman. But the kids, in my opinion, and my personal experience suffer much more than the actual victim. Because they are neglected, moreover in traditional places as Bulgaria they are stuck in the family frame,
and they are with no voice. And in many cases the actual victim, is led by emotions, love, personal comfort and they choose to stay with the offender, just because they feel better and safe like that. But, what about the children in the family? The main question must be on first place: in a family, with everyday scandals, fights, hospitals, run always, screaming, swearing, constant humiliations…. Only because someone provides to the kids shelter and material existence, do they have to be inside, or get protection?
The mindset I have, it came through experience… My early experiences had been my driving force for a long time. The aftermath of some crashes in my life was the reason why I was helping people to rebuild their lives. Becoming social entrepreneur, for me today is more that I wanted to break the cycle of what
I had been through- domestic violence, child abuse, silent society, stigmas, shame. I just want to help
people, to help protect people’s human rights and dignity, particularly those who were most vulnerable in society. I want to be available to people in need, to provide support to those who had nowhere else to turn. To provide the help that myself and others in my life did not get when we needed it the most. I am
familiar with what me was going through and having grown up with that I dedicate myself to make a change in the society. I am certain that my commitment as an adult to treating people equally and including people and trying to ensure people are not made to feel inferior is related to those very early
experiences. Today I know that I can help silenced to be heard for the first time.
I qualified as a social worker when I was 24, in Montreal, Canada. I feel incredibly lucky that I was a children’s social worker in Canada where the climate was strikingly different in terms of what was expected of social workers in Bulgaria. There was a real emphasis on working alongside people and
understanding the predicaments they were facing. When I was qualified as a social worker, I thought we could change the world. I still think that social work is grounded in pursuing social justice, and that social workers have unique and privileged opportunities to assist people to claim their rights and to improve their circumstances. Social workers on their own ca not change the world – but we as society, as businesses, institutions, hand by hand, we can!
When I was at further education college, university, I studied Law in Bulgaria and History and Economics in Canada and was completely gripped by it. I remember in one lesson we were looking at the causes of domestic violence in traditional totalitarian societies. There where terms as: “bound up with a mode of existence”, “retreat from decisions”, “the colonization of the individual life by the ideological system”, “function of the ideology”. I was understanding that my childhood nightmares, were a product of one totalitarian system, that was penetrate every aspect of our lives. The subjects(individuals) were integrated
trough a process of identification to an authoritarian system that never succeed to eradicate the traditional cultural model (subdominant and patriarchal). The victims as individuals, were submitted to the authoritarian figures such as parent, teacher, boss, and leader… And naively told my professor: “It is all over now today!”. But the reality is that we as society are still into cultural framework that creates silent violence. The official statistic today is that every 3rd woman in Bulgaria is subject to domestic violence, unofficially is every 2nd, and no one is willing to speak about the children. The official position today about child protection and rights is denial of the EU practices that protect the children in violent relations, and according to them (official and large part of society) are “destroying the traditional families and traditional society”. Bulgaria today is close to the democratic reactionary forces in Poland and Hungary and focus
on the political social activism should be on that direction.
I went into writing to help people, to help solve problems, to help people with pen and paper, yes I have strong social focus but try to keep it objective. For me be a writer or a journalist is not just write about whatever, especially investigative journalists. You get into it because you really care about the abuses of power, about the use of power, about human rights, basic human dignity, freedom and want to influence it for the better. If you did not care about it or have an opinion it, why not find a better paying, more stable job? In my opinion, writers and journalists are motivated by activism. There is a close relationship between both. I do not like that nowadays objectivity also became a norm as journalism began to be seen as a profession and an occupation. It forced journalists to report what powerful people said and did without providing context or analysis, making journalists seem like passive recorders of events. There is no problem to be just a columnist and tell Bulgaria is last in the EU in terms of media freedom- 112th in Reporters without Borders ranking. That is a huge issue…the same as silencing the victims of violence. Bureaucracy, the scientific spirit, they create unity in a diverse world, a unity of method rather than aim.
If you want change, be the change, make the change…. As a lawyer, for me writing, journalism, often sound like advocacy reporting. Writing is my way to rise voice, to highlight problems, to make invisible people visible. The core purpose of journalism is to raise the voices of people that maybe don’t have a voice…and so I think that in its own right journalism is a form of activism. Journalists can use the facts to describe an
issue that plagues society, and it’s journalists who present these facts and elevate the voices of the oppressed that allow for actual change to occur.
Writers are carriers of public discussion, audience developments and engagements, they hold a special responsibility. The goal is to push the story toward a deeper understanding. Where is the line is drawn
between journalism and activism? Nearly every journalist believes that objectivity is not an achievable concept, and everyone had a different definition or concept that they follow. Journalism is continuously evolving, building from what it once was before the objectivity norm came about, and that journalists can and should have a social impact on society without being considered advocates.
Art and Freedom of Expression
Yes, it is an unbelievably bad time in history about freedom of expression and things were headed in a bad direction. Journalists have been assaulted both verbally and physically for doing their jobs. Just look in the cradle of Democracy, labels as “Fake News,” a political attack strategy against the media coined by the ex-President Trump. How about the Eastern Europe, where writing people are in silence, where they are kept in fear, they are financially dependable. How to speak about objectivity, when covering individuals such as Donald Trump, Orban, Putin, who plays to the people worst racist and nationalistic tendencies? We must throw the notion of balance. I think it is important to provide different viewpoints, but to still tell the truth. It is our job to bear witness, to find the best obtainable version of the truth. Yes, journalists have a responsibility to remain fair, balanced, ethical, independent, and to tell the truth and provide citizens with
the information they need to be free and self-governing. But people’s humanity is not politics, it is a matter of morality, it is a matter of right and wrong, not balance.
Objectivity is a poor measure; it does not work for me. I believe writer should be fair. We are all human beings, we are all subjective, the most we can do is be fair. When we are writing a story, we must be fair to those we are writing about. Even if one side comes out looking poorly, we must give them notice, we have to let them give a protection. So rather than objective, the point is to do everything possible to be fair to
everyone in a story. We stick with what we know is true, stick to what you can confirm with the evidence you have, and write the best you can.
It is true, that when you are a journalist, when you write about the kids in a village in Africa who have no shoes, you do not say ‘Let’s envision a world where they all have shoes.’ You write and point out the bad things so that other people can come in and fix it.”. Yes, journalism should be politically neutral, nonpartisan, professional and objective, but fill with passion, fill with aims behind, fair, balanced, and ethical. And there is coming the activism-journalism. A hybrid, best of both sides, point the problem
and demonstrate how to fix it. It is the same as the social business.
For the end, I can give an advice for those who will not be good in creating financial resources but have passions and social position. Be an active community citizen. Play a role in the decision making around you, the world you live in. This is the only way really to understand what your community needs, and it will potentially spark ideas within you when you see the challenges firsthand. I hope this can inspire you too!